Steinberg Institute

Why is it so hard to get mentally ill Californians into treatment? Three bills tell the tale

Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2018

By Jocelyn Wiener
CALmatters

For years, Diane Shinstock watched her adult son deteriorate on the streets.  Suffering from severe schizophrenia, he slept under stairwells and bushes, screamed at passersby and was arrested for throwing rocks at cars.

Sometimes he refused the housing options he was offered. Sometimes he got kicked out of places for bad behavior.  Shinstock, who lives in Roseville and works on disability issues for the state of California, begged mental health officials to place him under conservatorship—essentially, depriving him of his personal liberty because he was so sick that he couldn’t provide for his most basic personal needs of food, clothing and shelter.

But county officials told her, she said, that under state law, her son could not be conserved; because he chose to live on the streets, he did not fit the criteria for “gravely disabled.”

“I was devastated,” she said. “I cried for days.”

So Shinstock—along with her husband Joe, a policy consultant who works for Republican leadership in the Assembly—set out to change state law. Their uphill battle illustrates the complex philosophical, legal and ethical questions that surround conservatorship in California.

Click here to read the full article.


From Our Director: We Need Your Support To Enact ‘No Place Like Home’

Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Dear Friends,

As you may already know, the “No Place Like Home” initiative will go before voters on the November ballot as Proposition 2. It’s an exciting — and welcome — moment that could jump-start billions of dollars in much-needed funding to provide supportive housing linked to services and treatment for people with serious mental illness who are chronically homeless or at grave risk of becoming homeless.

The legislation, originally signed into law in 2016 with bipartisan support, has been caught up in legal action. A “yes” vote in November will validate that the act furthers the intent of the Mental Health Services Act by providing a safe and stable living environment linked to intensive services for California’s most vulnerable residents.

Click here to read the full article.


We Need to Treat Mental Illness Before People Land On The Streets

Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2018

By Heather Knight
San Francisco Chronicle

Aug. 7, 2018

The severely mentally ill people we see on the sidewalks of San Francisco every day have one thing in common: The system failed them in disastrous fashion.

Chances are they have something else in common, too: mental illness stemming back to their childhood or young adulthood that was never properly treated. Clinical research shows 50 percent of all mental illness begins by age 14 and 75 percent begins by age 24.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, has a proposal to catch these cases far earlier, before people suffering with untreated schizophrenia and bipolar disorder wind up living on our sidewalks and under our freeway overpasses.

Click here to read the full article.


California has mental health billions. It’s time to improve how they’re spent

Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2018

By Darrell Steinberg and Scott Wiener 
Special to The Sacramento Bee

August 02, 2018

In coming weeks, the Legislature will have the opportunity to pass a measure that would change the lives of thousands of Californians at risk of serious mental illness, increase access to quality mental health treatment, and ultimately turn the tide in our homelessness crisis.

But it means being more strategic and accountable in how we deliver mental health services in California. And that makes it controversial. It’s a gut-check moment. And we’re calling on state leaders to rise to the occasion.

The issue at hand is the state Mental Health Services Act. That’s the millionaire’s tax passed in 2004 that generates $2.2 billion a year for mental health care. Without question, the act has been a game-changer, providing a lifeline for tens of thousands of people whose lives have been derailed by serious mental illness.

But should it – and could it – be making an even bigger difference? We say yes.

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Steinberg Institute accepting applications for office manager

Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Steinberg Institute is accepting applications for the position of office manager. We’re looking for a highly motivated, collaborative, solutions-oriented self-starter who has a passion for details. The successful candidate will possess superior judgment, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and will enjoy managing multiple projects simultaneously.

Click here to read the full article.


California needs more mental health professionals – and the shortage will get worse

Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The United States is suffering a critical shortage of licensed mental health professionals — and California is no exception. A study released in February by the Healthforce Center at UC San Francisco projects that California will have a severe shortage of psychiatrists by 2028. As it is, 23 of California’s 58 counties have fewer than one psychiatrist per 10,000 residents. Six counties have no psychiatrist at all.

Click here to read the full article.


Governor’s “May Revise” Calls for Major Investment in Mental Health Care

Posted on Friday, May 11, 2018

Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing hundreds of millions in new spending on services for mental health in his newly released “May Revise” budget, a welcome infusion of resources that would […]

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A push for mental health care at colleges: Depression and anxiety ‘really eat up our kids’

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2018

By Felicia Mello/CALmatters

When student leaders from 23 California State University campuses came together last fall to set priorities for the academic year, improving campus mental health services received more nominations than any other issue. It beat out even that perennial concern, tuition costs.

Cal State Student Association president Maggie White said she’s not surprised.

“We’re seeing wait times at counseling centers that are exceeding two or three weeks, people turned away after a few appointments because they’ve exceeded the maximum allotment, and students not feeling comfortable going to counselors because no one looks like them or reflects their experience,” White said.

As the stigma attached to mental health care fades, California students are increasingly clamoring for more on-campus services that can help them cope with anxiety, depression and the stresses of a contentious political climate and rising living expenses. Several bills pending in the California Legislature would set aside resources for mental health care at the state’s public colleges and universities.

Mental health advocates say on-campus care is especially important because people often first experience psychological problems during their young adult years.

“It’s so much the age when serious mental illness manifests itself, and here we have these institutions that could absolutely be identifying this early on,” said Deborah Anderluh, a spokesperson for the Steinberg Institute, which lobbies for more funding for mental health treatment.

Click here to read the full article.


Senate passes bill to make CA first state with voluntary workplace mental health standards

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2018

Landmark legislation that would make California the first state in the nation to establish voluntary mental health standards for the workplace was approved on the Senate floor Thursday by unanimous vote and moves to the Assembly with strong bipartisan backing. SB 1113, authored by Senator Bill Monning, D-Carmel, marks a bold effort to combat the stigma that still shrouds mental health in our nation and ensure mental illness is addressed with the same respect and urgency as physical illness in the workplace.

For years, employers have seen the wisdom of providing their employees with gym memberships, exercise space and nutritional snacks, having been schooled in the clear cost benefits of supporting physical well-being. SB 1113 would bring that same level of attention to supporting employee mental health.

In any given year, one in four Californians endures a mental health crisis, and yet mental health remains an uncomfortable and often unaddressed issue in many workplace settings. Research tells us that lack of attention comes at great cost for both employers and employees: Mental health issues are the single most expensive category of health costs for many employers, across all industries and sizes. The loss of employee productivity due to depression alone is estimated to cost U.S. companies as much as $44 billion per year.

Click here to read the full article.


Mental Health Bills On the Move in California

Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2018

Our public policy team is pressing forward with a package of sponsored bills that so far has garnered strong support from legislators on both sides of the aisle. It’s a bold agenda that advances some key themes: scaling up best practices for prevention and early intervention in mental illness; marshaling far more resources to combat the state’s crisis of homelessness; continuing the push toward a system of care in which mental health is treated with the same sweep and urgency as physical health; and growing our mental health workforce. Read on for a snapshot of our priorities for the 2018 session.

Click here to read the full article.


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